Craig Norman

Craig Norman, 2019 Utah Section PGA Professional of the Year

By Dick Harmon

All Craig Norman ever wanted to be was a golf professional, make the game his life. When he got his wish, it was all he dreamed it would be.  Going to his job as head golf professional at Hobble Creek Golf Course is a step towards heaven for the Provo native.

Norman was named the 2019 Professional of the Year by his peers in the Utah Section of the PGA of America in October, an honor that left him stunned and speechless, humbled to his core.  “I had no idea and I may not be deserving of that great honor,” he said.

“If you look at the names on that list over the years, that is a lot to live up to. I am deeply honored and cannot believe it, no, not at all.”

Humility aside, Norman has etched a profile in Utah as a consummate pro, uniquely gifted to strike the right balance between manager of manicured acres and a facilitator of fun with clubs, balls, grass, and cups.  It takes an artist to put it altogether.

Norman, the nephew of one of Utah’s longest-tenured golf professionals, the retired Sonny Braun, replaced Braun a few years ago after being his assistant since 1993. Before that, he was an assistant at Riverside Country Club in Provo from 1986-1993. 

Norman’s work in 2019 is highlighted by overseeing the return of one of the state’s favorite public courses after issues with pump and water rights reduced irrigation by 30 percent for the 2018 season.  He has increased corporate tournament play to 40-plus events a year, organized an efficient, hardworking staff, increased participation in the men’s, women’s and junior associations tied to the course and traveled the state as a volunteer rules official. He was the official starter at the Siegfried and Jensen Utah Open at Riverside Country Club, just 11 days after undergoing back surgery.

A friendly, upbeat, accommodating face in Utah golf, his dedication and love for the game is evident in everything he does. It is a natural offshoot of his upbringing by parents who made golf their lifetime hobby and a sister, Terry Norman Hansen, one of the most prolific women’s amateur players in state history. Craig, who played at Provo High School, played collegiately at Utah State University.

“I wish my mom and dad were here to see this,” said Craig who lost his father in 2007 and his mother, a prolific association winner at East Bay and old Timpanogos Golf Courses, in 2017.

Norman has always been enchanted by the draw of golf.  “It’s the most unfair game you play because it’s a chase of the unattainable yet attraction of the belief that you can master it.  You can hit it perfectly, but if you can’t make a 3-footer, it’s all for naught.”

2019 Awards Announced

2019 Utah Section PGA Awards Announced

The Utah Section PGA is excited to announce the 2019 Award Winners. We had so many incredible nominees this year. It is great to know that we have so many PGA Professionals going above and beyond at their facilities and their efforts within Utah golf.

A special thank you to the committee for the time you put into the detailed process of selecting this year’s class. And thanks to all of you for your efforts in growing the game in Utah.

Congratulations to all of our deserving winners! We will be honoring them at the Annual Awards Banquet on February 11, 2020 at Bloomington Country Club in St. George, UT.

Professional of the Year: Craig Norman, Hobble Creek 

Teacher of the Year: Tommy Sharp, Golf Lab

Youth Player Development: Jake Wyatt, Gladstan 

Assistant of the Year: Jon DeBoer, Tuhaye

Jon Unger Award: Brian Howes, Callaway 

Merchandiser of the Year Private: Marty BauerGlenwild

Merchandiser of the Year Public: Lynn Landgren, Bonneville

Player Development Award: Bryant Boshard, The Ridge  

Superintendent of the Year Public: Tracy Howard, Carbon Country Club

Superintendent of the Year Private: Paul Stokes, Logan Country Club

Horton Smith: Chad Pettingill, Jeremy Ranch

Bill Howard: Dale Darling

Bill Strausbaugh: Darci Olsen, Glenmoor

Gentleman Jeff: Scott Whittaker

Warren and ESPN Caddie

ESPN’s Michael Collins Leads a Parade of Fun at the 2019 PGA Jr. League Championship; Warren Fisher joins Collins as Co-host

By Michael R. Abramowitz, PGA of America

Think part Pied Piper. Part Eddie Murphy. Part Nick Faldo, minus the accent and, of course, the game.

ESPN reporter Michael Collins brought his entertaining traveling road show to the 2019 PGA Jr. League Championship at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Arizona, for an extended weekend.

Collins—who once did a popular piece online with phenom Akshay Bhatia from the 2018 Ryder Cup in Paris, where Bhatia (then a U.S. Junior Ryder Cup Team Member) taught Collins how to do the “Orange Justice” dance from Fortnite—is as genuine as it gets.

With a jovial personality, distinctive gray beard and hearty laugh, you can’t help but fall for Collins’ shtick. And now he has a 11-year old sidekick in Utah PGA Jr. Leaguer Warren Fisher, who is co-hosting hilarious bits with Collins to air on November 3rd on ESPN2. Stay tuned.

Vaudeville would be proud.

“It was an absolute blast,” said Collins. “Yesterday was the first day I met him. I was impressed the first time I shook hands. Demeanor, knowledge, 11 years old, just a ball of energy.”

Whether it’s putting drills with Team North Carolina that fall into Collins’ uncanny impromptu bravado or it’s joining in the Championship’s Skills Challenge or serving as a serious on-course reporter, Collins has as many options as a Swiss Army knife.

Meanwhile, Fisher, a now two-time PGA Jr. League Championship Cub Reporter, serves as the ultimate complement, with an equally cutting-edge sense of humor and over-the-top personality.

Harry Caray and Steve Stone. Jim Nantz and Tony Romo. Michael Collins and Warren Fisher? It’s not too much of a reach, now, is it?

“Halfway through our day, I told Warren, ‘There’s a good chance me and you will do some stuff in the future.’ He’s a lot of fun…He definitely knows what he wants to do. Knowing and being good at it is hard to do, but he definitely has both.

“He knows what he loves to do. He’s good at it. He’s coachable—easy to work with and great at directional stuff. There’s adults not as good, professionally. He’s one of those guys. Any time they want to ask me if I want to work with Warren, just tell me where I need to be and what time.”

Fisher has his eyes set on the stars and the best-dressed list.

“I want to work in television and do some acting, definitely,” proclaims the suave Fisher, who dresses in a Sunday-best, bow-tied suit, and last year, declared that he also wanted to be President of the United States. “Not any more. TV is where it’s at. For sure.”

“I knew just the way he was dressed this is going to be fun,” explained Collins. “I’m jealous of his look. And how he can slurp down all those milkshakes, too.”

Hollywood, here they come. Get their agent on the phone. Tell them the PGA Jr. League Championship is calling.

The 8th PGA Jr. League Championship presented by National Car Rental is being held at Grayhawk Golf Club, Oct. 12-14. Twelve all-star teams from across America are competing for the national title. ESPN2 will televise a highlight show on Sun., Nov. 3, at 3 p.m. ET/12 p.m. PT. ESPN is the new broadcast network of the PGA Jr. League Championship presented by National Car Rental.

For the original story and more info on the PGA Jr. League Championship, click HERE.

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Darci Dehlin-Olsen Elected to Utah Section Board

After numerous ballots Glenmoor Head Golf Professional Darci Dehlin-Olsen was elected to the Utah Section PGA Board and will fill the director position that Chad Pettingill has held the past three years. We are excited to have Darci join the Board and look forward to having a woman’s perspective as we continually look for ways to better serve our membership and grow the game of golf in Utah.

We would like to thank Todd Tanner, Chip Wesley and Michael Garrison for their willingness to serve the membership and making the selection process very difficult for our members. Four very qualified candidates looking to get involved and make a difference.  We will definitely be asking each of them to serve on various committees and will look forward to them running for future Board positions as they become available.

Thanks to all those that voted and participated in this process and we hope everyone finishes off the season strong. We look forward to 2020 and many exciting things ahead!

Jared Barnes

Jared Barnes to Represent Section as District 9 Director

The Utah Section PGA is excited to announce that Jared Barnes has been selected as the next District 9 Director representing the Utah Section PGA.

District 9 which includes Utah, Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Sections is 1 of 14 Districts represented on a national level with The Professional Golfers Association of America.  District Directors are selected from past presidents that have served their sections in the past as an officer.

The Utah Section was extremely fortunate to have 4 strong candidates that offered to serve the Utah Section in this position. Jared Barnes, Colby Cowan, Chris Stover and Ryan Kartchner all stepped up and offered to once again serve the Utah PGA and the members. After going through the selection process with the Board of Directors Jared Barnes was selected as the next District 9 Director. All 4 candidates were extremely qualified and we thank them for their continued service to the Utah Section membership.

Jared served on a couple different national committees when he was Utah Section President and has a great reputation on a national level. We are excited to have Jared as our representative and will look forward to him making a difference for the members of the Utah PGA and District 9. Jared made this comment about his selection “I’m equal parts excited and humbled for this opportunity. I look forward to getting back to serving our section, district and our association.”

Good luck to Jared in this position and thank you for your willingness to serve the PGA.

Zach Johnson to be Inducted in Southern Utah Athletics Hall of Fame

The Southern Utah Department of Intercollegiate Athletics and the SUU Athletics Hall of Fame Committee have announced the 2019 Hall of Fame class to be inducted on October 25 at the annual Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony.
Part of that induction is our very own Zach Johnson, assistant professional at Davis Park Golf Course and multiple-time Omega Player of the Year.

Owen Wins Doug Marriott Utah Senior Open

If you know Mark Owen, Mountain View Golf Course head professional, you know he’s a competitor. He played just about every sport growing up and he’s seen a lot of success locally as a golf professional in city opens and Utah Section events.

Utah County Rumble Wraps Up Major Qualifiers

The inaugural Utah PGA Junior Series Utah County Rumble Major, played at Gladstan Golf Course and The Oaks at Spanish Fork Golf Course on July 15-16 in Utah County wrapped up the Major Qualifying season. We had back-to-back Major winners and a few last-minute qualifiers for the season-ending Promontory Major Championship on July 29th in Park City, Utah.

Champions Crowned at Utah PGA Junior Series Davis/Valley View Major

Six major champions were crowned at the Utah PGA Junior Series Davis/Valley View Major on July 10-11th at Davis Park Golf Course and Valley View Golf Course. With exemption spots into the season-ending Promontory Major Championship, scores were low, competition was tight and playoffs were needed in the second major of the season.